Alabama Boy Missing for 13 Years: I 'Want To Be Normal' 18-Year-Old

Teen's true identity revealed after filling out college applications.

November 6, 2015, 5:08 PM

— -- An Ohio teenager who disappeared as a boy in Alabama 13 years ago, and whose true identity was finally revealed in course of filling out his college applications, is now pleading to be treated as a "normal 18 year old."

"At this point I just simply want to be normal!" Julian Hernandez said in a statement provided by the FBI in Cleveland, Ohio. "I want to go through my day like I did before this week, just being a normal 18 year old."

"I have goals that I am striving to meet, so please, again, respect my request for privacy," he added. "I just want to be left alone."

Julian, now 18, was reported missing by his mother in Alabama in August 2002, according to police. He was 5 years old at the time.

As an Ohio teenager, he couldn't validate his Social Security number when he was applying to college and he and his guidance counselor found him in a database for missing children.

Julian's father, Bobby Hernandez, was taken into custody in Ohio on records tampering charges because he allegedly "falsified identifying information to obtain fictitious State of Ohio identification card," according to a criminal complaint. Hernandez was being held on $250,000 bond in Ohio, according to court records.

Alabama officials also issued a warrant to arrest him for felony interference with custody.

Hernandez's lawyer, Ralph DeFranco told ABC News today his client "absolutely" feels remorse.

"He’s been a good father," said DeFranco. "Everybody that knows him loves him. His neighbors and his friends all speak very highly of him."

DeFranco said he hasn't met Julian but told ABC News "the young man is doing spectacularly."

"He’s bright, healthy, active in sports. And he’s an honor student in school. He’s a straight-A student," he said.

A representative for Julian's mother said earlier the family was "overjoyed this week to locate Julian and learn that he is safe."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events